WePlayVR: Putting the spark back into UK retailtainment

 

We’re excited to announce our latest partnership in the retail space with Capital and Regional. Together, we’re launching our classic WePlayVR in the heart of Luton’s shopping mall, just five minutes from our global headquarters. Now live, we’re continuing the momentum of bringing VR to the retail shopping experience.

The 900,000 sq.ft Mall in Luton has undergone rapid changes and growth since purchased by Capital and Regional in 2006. It is a primary shopping destination with an average weekly footfall of 382,609 and 158 retailers with an attractive close proximity to Luton Airport. We’re excited to bring WePlayVR to Luton locals and visitors stopping by.

The WePlayVR installation is part of Capital and Regional’s new initiative to transform UK retail and introduce virtual reality for the first time to Luton shoppers. It’s a special activation for us as it’s right in our own backyard by way of a short five-minute drive from our offices. Being so close means we can share WePlayVR not only with the public but also with friends and family who can all enjoy a selection of four unique game titles developed by us here at AiSolve. We are especially excited to share our first multiplayer experience, Star Defence.

Capital and Regional is a UK-focussed property specialist tailored to investing and managing shopping centres in the local communities. With a track record of delivering value in the retail and leisure management space, Capital and Regional is well known for spotting emerging opportunities across a market value of £1billion in the UK.

Diversifying the retail experience

Recent changes in retail has meant visitors to shopping destinations demand more. Consumers want something more unique, a new discovery to make purchasing more about buying into experience over just another transaction.

In this digital world, it’s not enough to have exciting shop window displays- visitors want excitement and engagement that draws them in week after week. In a recent Forbes study, 72% of millennials choose experience over material items. This is the new ‘purchasing happiness’ people want to feel when visiting shopping malls.

Europe is still on the verge of overcoming significant challenges to compete with international retail destinations. Many investors and landlords in Europe are still reluctant to invest into new leisure or retailtainment concepts because it’s not in their initial purpose.

Retailers that diversify their economy and add leisure and entertainment to create attractive destinations raise the bar for bringing in regular and new consumers. They can all agree that leisure is a new anchor in helping to create a more appealing way for shoppers to have a successful mix of experience.

WePlayVR breathes new life back into the retail world that has been lacking innovation within recent years.

Global experiences, local visitors

Our location based VR arena captures the hearts and imaginations of girls, boys, adults and families through every experience, in every destination. WePlayVR connects with each player in different ways, whether they like thrills, exploration or simply experiencing visually captivating worlds as a means of escape. WePlayVR has it all. In our VR attractions, visitors don’t just become players, they become adventurers and heroes.

With a location such as The Mall Luton, the entire family can be engaged and entertained when they step inside the finite space of WePlayVR, only to be transported to infinite dimensions our skilled team at AiSolve have created.

Along with Capital and Regional, we understand with such a diverse and thriving location, having both local residents, international students from the University of Bedfordshire and people stopping by from Luton Airport, we can capture people of all ages, genders and demographics in one place.

Bringing momentum to UK shoppers

After the recent success of Belle Epine shopping mall in France and Centro Colombo and Arrabida Shopping in Portugal, we know WePlayVR will be a perfect fit for UK shoppers as well. WePlayVR brings family fun out of FECs and straight into the mall.

Read our recent blog here about Belle Epine and Portugal.

Luton is already home to The Galaxy, an entertainment zone with Cineworld cinema and Tenpin bowling. However, WePlayVR is a first for Luton, introducing a new concept which coincides nicely with the already popular traditional entertainment spaces.

When visiting WePlayVR, people will have a unique choice of experiences in single player and multiplayer configurations.  After showcasing Star Defence, our fourth WePlayVR title in our gaming catalogue at MAPIC and IAAPA just a couple of weeks ago, we know after a great reception there this would be the perfect fit for The Mall Luton. In Star Defence, players will team up and explore and defend a spaceship under attack by drones.

This latest installation marks a significant time for AiSolve and retailtainment. WePlayVR has not only become a favourite for family entertainment centres and theme parks but is also establishing an innovative approach to everyday shopping experiences.

Additionally, with our games being localised to suit the international market and more titles being added to the library, AiSolve looks forward to helping bring location based VR entertainment to more shopping malls, in more countries and to more families.

 

WePlayVR now live in France, Introduces AR app

 

Today we’re excited to announce our newest retail partnership with Klépierre. Together we’re launching WePlayVR, our location based virtual reality gaming arena, within Klépierre’s Belle Epine shopping mall. Now live, WePlayVR will help super-charge the shopping experience for the French retail market.

Concurrently, we’re using the Belle Epine installation to announce another exciting first: WePlayVR AR. Available on Android and web, the WePlayVR augmented reality app is an experience that allows users at Belle Epine to bring our WePlayVR game characters to life, with functions to take selfies and share special augmented WePlayVR moments with friends.

WePlayVR AR is a first for AiSolve and also the first time a location based VR attraction has offered an augmented reality companion app. We’ll be introducing several more features to WePlayVR AR as we roll-out the experience to additional locations beyond Belle Epine and are thrilled to have such a stylish and progressive partner in Klépierre to be part of the launch.

Klépierre, a European specialist in shopping centre properties, is a major player in continental Europe’s retail property market. The company has access to approximately 150 million European consumers within 57 cities in 16 countries.

Belle Epine shopping centre is France’s largest shopping centre and is located in a fast-growing community surrounded by Rungis international food market. Belle Epine is located only 30 minutes away from more than 5.2 million local customers who travel to the shopping mall. We are thrilled to be bringing WePlayVR to this massive demographic of potential French players.

Meeting millennials where they shop

In the last few years, people have turned more to technology for online shopping, watching movies and listening to music. This has impacted the shopping mall experience, which has struggled to find new and innovative ways to transform their experience. Owners are highly motivated to find new kinds of business to bring in and keep customers. Consumers are looking for me than just shopping when they visit a mall. They want experience.

By leveraging diverse technology, retailers can enhance their in-mall experience to provide a seamless and unique entertainment experience for any demographic from locals to tourists. Virtual reality is steadily on the up and WePlayVR is making its mark as the solution for retail entertainment, also known as retailtainment.

Reviving the retail experience

At AiSolve we understand that there haven’t been any real contenders in location based VR that have been able to capture shopping and leisure visitors. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Klépierre and attract a new and diverse generation of shoppers looking for an authentic retail experience.

WePlayVR, our turn-key virtual reality gaming arena, is compact for spaces such as a shopping mall. However, WePlayVR offers infinite experiences that leisure and retail haven’t explored, until now. Visitors will be transported from Belle Epine shopping mall into ancient ruins, abandoned clockwork towers and even go to a galaxy far away to battle flying drones, turning them into adventures, explorers and heroes.

 Classic experiences, new languages

All WePlayVR games have been localised so that French users will be able to understand the narration in the game and experience WePlayVR to its fullest potential. Our games will not only be available in French, depending on the location, country and native language, but the signature WePlayVR experience will be available as well. Players will also be able to track their scores on WePlayVR’s new leader board system and compete against friends, family and general public.

Offering a deeper enhanced experience

Taking user engagement to the next level, at Belle Epine players will be rewarded with free merchandise including temporary transferrable tattoos that work with WePlayVR AR after downloading the app to Android smartphones or through a web portal. Players at Belle Epine will also receive a player’s certificate and photo of themselves with their game.

VR is no longer a novelty for retailers. As the technology moves forward the requirement for new and exciting experiences will only grow for consumers. WePlayVR is continuously expanding and adapting to the market, and along with Klépierre, we’re able to take their existing environments and transcend new worlds for a multi-use leisure and shopping experience.

We will be attending MAPIC on the 14-16th November where we will showcase WePlayVR to the growing retail market. MAPIC is the leading international retail real estate events with more than 2,100 retailers and 400 new retailers attending every year.

Find us at stand P-1.E20 for a chat and quick demo or schedule a meeting with our coordinator ashleigh.benfield@aisolve.com.

 

 

 

WePlayVR: enriching the leisure destination and holiday park experience

 

Center Parcs, a European network of resort villages, is one of the leaders in leisure and holiday parks in the UK. Since opening its first location in the Netherlands over 40 years ago, Center Parcs has revolutionised the holiday market. The company now occupies a special place in the hearts and minds of visitors, offering a unique escape from a normal holiday that clearly resonates with people considering its annual occupancy rate in excess of 97%. In a reflection of their success, Brookfield Property Partners, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate companies, recently acquired Center Parcs UK.

 

Bolstered by 40 years of thinking differently about leisure, Center Parcs is once again innovating in the holiday park market and AiSolve is pleased to be their partner. Today we are pleased to announce Center Parcs has brought our popular turnkey location based attraction WePlayVR to their UK village at Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire.

Leisure begins to think big

For years, leisure destinations have been finding new ways to capture visitors’ interests and keep them engaged. However, while they’re offering traditional activities and utilising indoor attraction space, there hasn’t been a huge period of experimentation with technology and enclosed attractions. Until now.

VR is becoming a contender in entertainment and leisure parks are taking a closer look at the headset technology and evaluating its viability in their market. They’re asking questions like “Is it too soon to introduce VR?” “Is the hardware durable enough for constant use?” “Are the games more interesting than what our other attractions offer?” These are all legitimate questions and well worth entertaining.

Here at AiSolve, we certainly don’t have all the answers, but we do know this: WePlayVR, our turn-key, free roaming location based attraction, continues to sell to global leisure and entertainment partners, opening eyes to LBVR’s true potential and making its mark as the solution for immersive family entertainment. Our VR hardware has been extremely robust: from our MSI VR One backpacks to the VR headsets and of course the WePlayVR arena itself. Guests and visitors are finding WePlayVR’s interactive, immersive experiences delightful and consistently comment on how much they love WePlayVR’s vibrating floor that responds to their gameplay. Creating an attraction that will always be more exciting than sitting at home playing VR was priority number one here at AiSolve and that is paying off for excited users and happy operators at holiday parks the world over.

Offering a high-tech holiday

WePlayVR is continuously a favourite for players in the UK, UAE and US with 27 locations going live since first launching a year ago. Our free roam LBVR arena turns users into explorers, discoverers and adventurers as soon as they step inside and judging by the thrilled and awed reactions coming from players as our haptic floor vibrates in reaction to their gameplay, we’d say we’re doing a great job of keeping WePlayVR a favourite.

WePlayVR was designed for families to enjoy. From the moment they put on a VR backpack and headset to the second they walk freely through the arena solving puzzles and testing their skills, daughters and sons, mums and dads are immersed in exciting worlds they can’t visit any other way.

Offering an experience that users can’t get at home is a crucial feature of any leisure destination or attraction and no different for LBVR. Center Parcs understands this and by featuring WePlayVR at Nottinghamshire, they can take their traditional holiday park and turn it into a diverse, multi-use leisure destination. They will continue to attract their current target market but also appeal to a new generation of holiday seekers looking for more high-tech experiences.

Having been involved with this partnership from its earliest days, Gurneam Bains, AiSolve’s Head of Sales and Marketing, reports that this activation of WePlayVR is one of the company’s most compelling. “When we first began discussions with Center Parcs we were excited that a leisure company known for very nature-focused holidays was interested in WePlayVR. It showed that our product has appeal beyond traditional FECs and theme parks. Now, with Center Parcs we’re showing that WePlayVR has a home in any venue where families gather to have fun.”

Extending leisure experiences through VR

At first glance it might appear that installing a WePlayVR at a Center Parcs would go against its brand identity. Center Parcs is known for its exciting outdoor activities after all, with open surroundings where families can enjoy large play spaces and children have freedom to explore open areas. However, when looking closer it’s easy to see how it’s a perfect compliment.

WePlayVR is a free-roaming VR experience with an attraction footprint that is defined and enclosed. The compact 3m x 3m space of WePlayVR, plus the haptic floor constantly reacting to the player’s game play, provides the feeling of endless exploration once players step inside.  Having the ability to walk around freely transforms a finite space into infinite possibilities similar to the way Centre Parc’s wide-open spaces stimulate exploration and discovery. It’s a match made in leisure heaven and we’re thrilled to support Center Parc’s expansion into immersive entertainment.

Partners make the difference

Partnerships with powerhouse leisure destinations like Center Parcs highlight how WePlayVR enhances the leisure and holiday experience by acting as a portal to new and exciting worlds. In the coming weeks we’ll be sharing photos and stories highlighting this ground-breaking partnership. Working with Center Parcs has been an exceptional experience and we look forward to a long and rewarding relationship going into 2019.

Join us at the Family Attraction Expo on the 7-8th November to find out more about WePlayVR, our products and arrange a demo with the team at stand 9-640.

Alongside our Center Parcs installation, we also partnered with the Family Fun Centre in Tukwila, Washington where we installed our classic arena with a brand-new multiplayer game. Read more here.

 

 

 

 

WePlayVR: The new frontier for retail entertainment

 

Sonae Sierra, a Portuguese property developer, is one of the largest holders of shopping centre capital in Europe. As a brand, Sonae has become synonymous with up-scale destination shopping and for leveraging technology to enhance the retail experience. Their Centro Colombo and Arrabida Shopping centers are two of their most famous locations and serve as the perfect locations to launch one of the most exciting partnerships for WePlayVR.

Together, Sonae and AiSolve are pleased to announce the launch of WePlayVR, our turn-key location based virtual reality gaming arena. Going live at Centro Colombo and Arrabida Shopping in October and November, WePlayVR is part of Sonae’s premier event initiatives that will transform the shopping experience using VR for the first time in Portugal retail.

Over-coming Leisure Retail Obstacles with WePlayVR 

Ask anyone in the business what the biggest challenges are in the market and they’ll point to two things: how to increase footfall and authentically engage shoppers beyond basic transactions. From concerts to special celebrity guest visits, developers are experimenting with many different ways to bring in visitors and keep them engaged. There hasn’t been a real winner yet in this race to capture shopping and leisure guests but VR is rapidly becoming a solution and WePlayVR is quickly making its mark as the preferred turnkey VR arena for retail. That’s why we’re so excited about our partnership with Sonae.

Sonae understands that by including cutting edge entertainment experiences such as WePlayVR, they as developers can take simple retail locations and turn them into true multi-purpose leisure destinations. When they do this, they’re attracting a new generation—the mercurial millennial shoppers who don’t just shop for products, they shop for experiences.

WePlayVR delivers infinite experiences in a finite space to a new demographic that retail hasn’t been able to connect with deeply until now. Our location based VR arena turns users into adventurers, explorers and discoverers. Girls and boys, teens and tweens and even mom and dad transform into puzzle solving heroes immersed in worlds they can’t get to any other way until they step into a WePlayVR arena. In retail locations such as Centro Colombo and Arrabida Shopping, the entire family can be entertained and engaged while they’re strolling through the incredible environments that both AiSolve and Sonae have created—even if ours is the virtual kind and Sonae’s is the real kind.

Counting Every In, Every Minute

In a mall or retail setting, every inch and every minute counts. That’s why WePlayVR’s short, four minute experiences played within a compact 3m x 3m are so popular. WePlay’s footprint is clearly defined and enclosed and that’s a big feature in a mall environment where managing exhibition space can be a challenge. Players are securely on the inside of WePlayVR, making them an attraction themselves as people stop to watch players react and walk through our thrilling, highly engaging puzzle adventures.

Global Experience, Local Language 

At AiSolve we’re a little obsessed with getting people into VR. That’s why we design our WePlayVR experiences to appeal to young and mature audiences who are curious about VR but have never tried it. From Mayan Adventure to Clock Tower and even Alien Invasion, you’re not going to play the typical shooter games: in WePlay you become an explorer or a hero.

Now, we’re localizing the games so that whatever language users speak anywhere in the world, they’ll be able to understand WePlayVR games perfectly. Our game designers work hard on creating intuitive interactivity, but game localization helps all our global users have a great time in VR and we’ll continue to roll out additional new languages as we add more countries to the WePlayVR global map.

WePlayVR Continues Expansion

Speaking of the WePlayVR global map, AiSolve is happy to announce we’re now live in 27 locations worldwide. That’s 10 countries in 12 months and over 110,000 plays. Centro Colombo and Arrabida Shopping will be adding quite a few new names to our leaderboard system. It will be great fun to see the reactions from local Portuguese players as they feel WePlayVR’s haptic floor. It’s ours and everyone else’s favorite part of WePlayVR and it’s the only LBVR attraction to have this for a free roaming attraction.

10 countries down, hundreds more to go and soon millions of smiles to see inside our arenas. With our growing traction in the international retail space, we are confident those numbers are achievable, especially with Sonae as a partner and with VR growing increasingly popular worldwide.

 

 

AiSolve debuts multiplayer for WePlayVR at EAS, launches new finance option and partnership

 

Euro Attractions Show (EAS) 2018 starts in less than a month and we’re gearing up for an exciting show with an exclusive first look at our newest multiplayer experience, Star Defence, and newly designed WePlayVR arena.

Still a compact footprint, the brand-new 3m x 3m WePlay design comes with a leaderboard and is able to host multiple players. This comes just in time to coincide with our multiplayer game which together delivers a significantly higher ROI for owners and operators.

With this added bonus feature players can now track their scores and compete against each other to be on top of the leaderboard. With an added multiplayer game, players can team up against other teams which is an added bonus for multiplayer gaming.

Making its debut at EAS with an exclusive launch, Star Defence is the first multiplayer game title for WePlayVR. This experience is an action-packed two-person space adventure set inside a spaceship. Players battle together to become heroes against an onslaught of drones. Star Defence is highly interactive and an extremely immersive haptic experience, now with collaborative game play.

Much like the classic WePlayVR, Star Defence has evolved as a game since the first-look trailer was launched. The final version features more action and team work along with stunning visuals that players can experience as they navigate through the different game levels.

We’re changing the game with our new WePlayVR and Star Defence multiplayer experience. Don’t miss your chance to visit us on the 25th-27th Sept at stand 2-110 with Bandai Namco.

WePlayVR financing options now available

We know here at AiSolve that we’ve created something special in WePlayVR. That’s why we’ve kicked-off a new finance plan so that even more owners and operators can get in on the fun of our turn-key, location-based VR attraction, WePlay.

WePlayVR, a thrilling VR experience for people of all ages and can be owned for as little as £820 per month. This means guests will get all the fun while owners and operators get one easy payment plan that they control. We have partnered with approved finance lenders to offer tailor-made finance plans which provide a great virtual opportunity that works for all qualified owners.

Now, prospective clients have options on how to finance WePlayVR, making it a compelling investment for their venues and locations. Details on the available financing plans are here.

We Bare Bears: Food Truck Rush

We are excited to announce a partnership with Cartoon Network for a first-of-its kind experience, We Bare Bears: Food Truck Rush. In collaboration with Philadelphia-based game studio PHL Collective, Food Truck Rush is based on the BAFTA award-winning and Emmy-nominated animated series We Bare Bears and developed specifically for WePlayVR.

Food Truck Rush is Cartoon Network’s first location-based VR experience and marks the first third party IP game for AiSolve. In the experience, players are driven directly into the We Bare Bears world to operate and manage their very own food truck. The goal is to cook up food and serve as many customers as possible before the clock runs out.

Launched as a three-month pilot at the Family Fun Center in Tukwila, Washington, Food Truck Rush is a 2-3 player experience that has players teaming up inside the WePlayVR arena to complete orders and avoid kitchen mishaps.

We shared more information on the pilot in a recent blog post here. 

 

 

 

AiSolve Partners with Cartoon Network to Launch New WePlayVR Experience

Today we’re thrilled to announce that AiSolve has launched a new location-based virtual reality multi-player experience, We Bare Bears: Food Truck Rush for our WePlayVR arena. This first-of-its kind experience is produced by a world class team at Cartoon Network and developed by Philadelphia-based game studio PHL Collective, with integration support from our team here at AiSolve.

Food Truck Rush is Cartoon Network’s first location-based VR experience and marks the first third party IP game for AiSolve. In it, players are directly immersed in the We Bare Bears world, operating and managing their very own food truck. The goal is to cook up food and serve as many customers as possible before the clock runs out. Players team up and work together inside the WePlayVR arena to complete orders and avoid any kitchen disasters.

AiSolve’s President of North America, Shauna Heller, worked with Cartoon Network to bring the popular IP to AiSolve’s location based virtual reality platform. “My relationship with Cartoon Network goes back several years and I’ve been a big fan of their VR apps like Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games. It’s a pleasure to now support their talented studio producers and developers as they bring another incredible IP, We Bare Bears, into the VR medium through our WePlayVR arena.”

We Bare Bears, created by Daniel Chong for the Cartoon Network, is a depiction of three bear brothers going through a journey together tackling modern society and trying to find their place in civilisation. The family includes three main characters: Grizzly, Panda and Ice Bear, each with their own personalities, interests and talents. Although not brothers by birth, the three bears found their way to each other as cubs and have been inseparable ever since.

Food Truck Rush launched exclusively at the Family Fun Center in Tukwila, Washington and will be available for fans of all ages to play over the next three months.

Rich Yee of Family Fun Center has already reported that the VR experience is a hit with his guests. “Food Truck Rush is getting rave reviews. They all love it.”

Food Truck Rush is a 2-3 player experience that allows players to interact and engage with friends and family as We Bare Bears characters. It’s fun and highly immersive experience targeted at a broad demographic from youths and teens to parents and adults.

Devi Kolli, our CEO and co-founder of AiSolve, is impressed with how aligned Food Truck Rush is to our platform. “When Cartoon Network shared that the We Bare Bears experience would take place inside a food truck, we knew WePlayVR would be a perfect location-based VR platform for the content because of our haptic floor. When the food truck takes off on the adventure, our haptic floor responds to the driving, rumbling and creating a sensation of movement. This deepens the level of immersion and fun for the players and convinces them they’re really being driven around in a food truck.”

Guests outside the arena can watch the popular bears come to life through WePlay’s spectator portal before they get in and play as their favourite character themselves.

As in all WePlayVR experiences, We Bare Bear players walk freely inside WePlayVR’s 3x3m arena wearing an MSI VR One backpack paired with a VR headset. Using two controllers, each player can pick up objects, pour drinks and even use a virtual tablet to accept orders while embodying a bear character.

Our thanks here at AiSolve go out to the outstanding executives, producers and developers at Cartoon Network and PHL Collective who created such a delightful location-based VR experience for WePlayVR. Working with you all has been wonderful. We’ve had a great time and can’t wait to see how players fall even more in love with Food Truck Rush and WePlayVR.

People can follow WePlayVR on Facebook and Twitter and catch images through our various hashtags including: #AiSolve #WePlayVR #LBVR #foodtruckrush #VR

You can read more information on the pilot here: Variety, Blooloop, Promax, Animation Magazine, Licensing.biz, License Global, Regular Capital.